Peace, You Elusive Little Booger

Peace, You Elusive Little Booger

October 15, 2021 1 By Laura

We all long for peace and freedom and joy. No matter who you are and what you’re going through, you’ve likely found yourself desperately longing for those things. You want to feel at peace with whatever is going on and not feel anxious to jump to the next thing or the next season. You want freedom because you don’t want to feel stuck or trapped or longing for something more or something different. You want joy because who doesn’t want to be happy? You want to see the good and experience the best and enjoy both big and small experiences.

We long for circumstantial peace. We want situations and relationships and finances to be simple and easy and good. And maybe it will be for a time, but that is bound to change at some point. Struggles will happen and challenges will come, and we don’t want to get knocked down by those things.

There has to be a balance between accepting whatever comes our way in life without unrealistic expectations and still hoping for the best. But we cannot put our hope in circumstances. We cannot put our trust and our grandest expectations on the things of this world. They will always fail us and always disappoint us. Even the best relationships, the best people, the best jobs, the best circumstances will change and disappoint and leave us brokenhearted and longing for something better.

Our hope and our joy and our freedom are so tightly tied to circumstances. We long for a specific outcome or a particular situation to go a certain way, and when it doesn’t, we are devastated. But we know in our souls that circumstances will fail us and that life is hard. We know people will disappoint us and even the best things will eventually fade away.

Circumstantial peace isn’t real peace. It might look like peace and feel like peace, but it won’t last and it won’t fill the deepest longings of our souls. It might feel good for a while, and it might even be a huge answer to prayer, such as a new job or a healed relationship or a prodigal child who has returned home. But even those things will change… new jobs may lose their luster or not live up to expectations. Relationships may remain strong but the excitement of healing may fade and trials still may surface. And prodigal children may have challenges to work through or additional healing to focus on.

Even with the biggest answers to prayer, the thrill of the resolution may fade away and more challenges will come into our lives. Circumstantial peace isn’t real peace. It’s a short-term, immediate gratification type situation. It feels good and it’s nice, but it won’t last and it won’t continue to fill us up because it will inevitably change.

Only the peace of Jesus can keep us filled and satisfied and truly keep us in a peaceful state for all of our days. The peace of Jesus transcends all circumstances, both good and bad. It reigns higher and shines brighter and fills deeper than anything else can. It’s the peace of God that surpasses understanding, that shows up when it makes no sense to have peace, and that blows our minds in the best way possible.

The weekend my husband left was a whirlwind of emotions and changes and stressors. The day he told me he was done, he also left our home that we shared with our three children. The next day, I spent several hours at the baseball field for opening day of spring baseball season. That night, I found out I was pregnant with our fourth child. To say that weekend was a lot would be an understatement. I remember crying and praying desperately and being scared and confused and worried about my future. But I also felt a strange wave of peace that washed over me the very night he left and it hung around for many months. In the scariest and most uncertain, most emotionally charged season of my life, God’s unexplainable peace was present. It makes no sense that I should have felt peace in that time because my circumstances were miserable and terrifying and heartbreaking. But God was there.

There may be some psychological explanation for the peace I felt in that insane time, and that’s all good and well. But nothing is going to explain away my confidence in the fact that it was God. I know deep in my soul that He was there, reaching out for me and holding onto me tightly when I felt lost and scared and alone. In the moments I felt confident I could be a single mom of four to the moments of sheer hysteria and crippling anxiety at the mere thought of it, He was there.

Fast forward to now, nearly two years after that momentous weekend. Things are pretty good in terms of worldly circumstances. My four children are healthy and happy, my career is thriving, my home is nice and clean (mostly), and I have more hope and excitement for my future than I think I’ve ever had. But peace feels unattainable sometimes. Why is that? Why is it that in my darkest hours, peace was available and accessible like an all-encompassing cloud that I’m confident I could not rid myself of even if I had tried? Yet now, when circumstances are good and life is quite simpler, it feels as if peace is just out of my reach.

There’s something about big challenges and seasons of struggle that bring us closer to God. They make us painfully aware of His presence and His companionship, and they somehow shift our perspective of God. We stop viewing Him as a genie that grants our wishes and instead see Him as a trusted friend who we simply long to be in the presence of. We seek Him fervently and we chase Him wholeheartedly, as if we know that the only hope of peace lies in Him alone.

And it does. True, lasting peace comes only from Him. And it seems to me that we only discover it and grab hold of it successfully when we are in the depths of despair.

That seems to be a bit unfortunate, mostly because I wish I could access that level of peace on a daily basis and even (especially!) when things are good.

But I think that’s part of the gift… that we have to go through the struggle to find that treasure. God leads us through these life-altering challenges that we think we can’t possibly get past, with this sweet promise of unexplainable peace in the midst of our toughest trials. It’s His way of growing us and teaching us and leading us to walk in His truths and His love and His promises more than we ever thought possible.

Although circumstances have improved, so much is still uncertain and unresolved and far less than ideal. I’m still in the valley. The storm is still raging. But God is here. He has allowed each part of my journey to be filtered through His loving hands and is showing me a great deal through my trials, primarily that peace is available at all times due to His loving kindness and incredible generosity.